Dressing like James Bond
To dress like James Bond is to dress with absolute timeless style. From the Antony Sinclair (Ian Fleming's Savile Row tailor) days of Dr. No to Tom Ford's latest designs for Daniel Craig in Quantum of Solace, 007's suits have always exuded understated cool. Even Roger Moore's suits by Mayfair legend Douglas Hayward were beautiful - it was the rest of his wardrobe that made him look so naff!
The following is a list of guidelines for dressing like Bond without breaking the bank. Follow them to the letter and girls will be falling for your sartorial charms faster than you can say Pussy Galore. Stray too far and you could find your license to kill rapidly revoked.
James Bond's suits are invariably in block colours - plain blacks, greys and midnight blues. With the exception of Roger Moore, who was far more the business Bond than any of the others, 007 doesn't do pinstripe. By the same rationale, he seldom wears a 3-button suit, but favours a 2-button jacket for work and a 1-button for play - although just like Bond, we should aspire to combine the two whenever possible. The best thing about 1 and 2-button jackets is that whilst they are sharp enough to ease the knickers off an unsuspecting American attaché, they offer enough movement to scale the wall of a foreign embassy.
1. I'm going to assume that you're buying a bespoke suit, since there are companies out there who do an outstanding job for under £500 (King & Allen suits are priced £249-£499 - that's less than a single cuff link from Tom Ford!). Insist with your tailor that you would like the first button to be positioned at the narrowest point on your torso - cutting in for the most flattering silhouette.
2. Modern Bond's jackets are invariably double-vented, for style and movement.
3. Ask for 9-11oz weight cloth, so that your suit regains its shape after a cable car brawl, but it's not too hot that the imminent destruction of mankind causes you to perspire. Or if you commute.
4. On a similar note, opt for a Super 100-120 superfine wool or wool-blend. Your suit needs to be durable enough to withstand the blast of an exploding building but be soft and luxurious enough to turn the political allegiance of a would-be female assassin. Anything above 120 is too delicate - anything below is too coarse.
5. Keep the pockets straight, in the style of classic British tailoring - leave the slanted pockets to the Italians.
6. Ensure that the jackets sleeves have working cuffs. It's a subtle indicator that your suit is bespoke.
7. Keep the lining simple and understated. No loud colours or patterns.
Trousers should be a classic cut - a boot-cut trouser is too showy for Bond, whilst he leaves the skinny trousers for the Italians and the indie kids. No pleats, no turn-ups - Bond's trousers are simple and elegant. A straight line should fall to the back of the shoe with a single break at the front.
Shirts Bond's shirts are clean, crisp and ice white. Modern Bond wears a high collar (but that's in part because Daniel Craig has no neck!). It also happens to be a great look. Single or double cuffs are fine, so long as about 3mm of cuff protrudes from your suit sleeve, both falling neatly at the break of the wrist. Never wear a button-down collar. Unless your name is Ernst Blofeld.
Bond's shoes are made by Church's and cost a small fortune. The old adage that you must always wear really expensive shoes is simply not true. There are some superb shoes in the shops for under £100 so long as you stick to basics. Opt for a classic, simple lace-up, with thin, leather soles and a defined heal. To match a grey, black or midnight blue suit your shoes should be black and their design very simple. Above all, they should be clean and un-scuffed.
There is only one part the human body that is more repulsive to a woman than the sight of exposed ankle on the seated male - and that's the back of the nut-sack...
Rule 1: Find a long black comfortable sock from an established high street store.
Rule 2: Continue to buy until you are dead.
If you're dropping in to MI6 to receive orders from M you'll need a tie, otherwise modern Bond doesn't wear one. The white shirt and dark, monochrome suit means that you may feel tempted to wear something fun and colourful. This is tantamount to confessing the nation's deepest secrets. ''Colourful' ties make it much easier for snipers to shoot at your heart - and rightly so.
If your suit is black or midnight blue find a tie that matches it exactly. Avoid ties that are too thick or too wide (often they are more expensive) - they make the knot look too big. Remember this simple rule: looking like a secret agent on an undercover mission = cool. Looking like a premiership footballer = not cool. A four in hand or a half Winsor are the best knots, as long as the main part of the tie rests just above your trousers. Always hide the short end in the hoop provided.
Public school style striped ties are very popular with Bond. Your best bet is to wear your suit to the shop and seek advice from a salesman you trust.
You may feel tempted to "show a bit of personality" through accessories. A secret agent should show his personality through his words and deeds - his clothes should simply show how cool he is. It is a little known fact that "Novelty" cufflinks actually attract enemy radar. They should be simple, silver and small. Belts look great but they must match the shoe colour exactly.
The Final Touch
Buy a cheap (it needs to be very thin), crisp, white handkerchief and place it neatly into the outer welt (top left breast) pocket of your jacket. Line it flat above the pocket (see picture). Do not ever put it anywhere near your nose. Instead, wait patiently for the moment to arrive when you need to comfort a beautiful Slovakian scientist whose father was killed by the KGB...
© 2008 King and Allen - Bespoke Suits by King and Allen
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